Ashland Oregon Things to Do for Seniors

September 16, 2016 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Things to Do in Southern Oregon

Ashland Oregon at Halloween

Let me start by saying that this city has a tremendous amount of charm and is in a geographic region of the Pacific Northwest that postulates life at such a highly desired combination of attributes, that there may be some resistance to its promotion by its existing residents.

Many of the Ashland locals are transplants from the bay area of southern California. They would like for the city to remain at a level of growth, that if allowed to expand out of control, would possibly harm its small town character.  There is a general feeling amongst some of the residents that too many new transplants will render this haven into another megalopolis in a decade or so.  Personally, we believe a certain amount of growth is good for the local community and provides improved wages for those not yet at the retirement phase of their lives. If you are looking for the perfect laidback hamlet to retire in, or at least close to it, then the Ashland Oregon area is your destination of choice.

Local Cities and Towns Close to Ashland

The local cities within a 20 to 30 minute drive from Ashland include Talent, Phoenix, Medford, Central Point, Eagle Point, Gold Hills, and Grants Pass.  There are also numerous unincorporated areas of Jackson county with many communities that are close to this idyllic city.

The Ashland Shakespeare Festival

The Shakespeare Festival runs annually from April 20 to October 29.  Its operators produce top-notch, critically acclaimed, classic productions of the famous poet/playwright.  Productions of other popular plays and comedies are also featured on a regular basis at the festival.  This theatre company features an ensemble of actors rivaling those of much larger metropolitan areas. Three dedicated festival theaters, including an impressive Elizabethan outdoor stage provide venues of superior quality for the theatre company’s live productions.  High caliber Hollywood and Broadway actors are regulars on these local Ashland stages.

The theater group also broadens their repertoire with productions from playwrights other than Shakespeare; the yearly offerings are many and diverse.  An example of a stage production picked from outside the Shakespeare repertoire on stage for the 2016 season is Vietgone.  This unusual comedy is set in the waning days of the Vietnam War and revolves around three young refugees as they leave their existing lives behind in the only country they have ever known to pursue a new life in America.  The turbulent 1970s provides the backdrop for these immigrants as they make their way in a country that is hugely different from their native Vietnam. The cultural divergences provide many opportunities for laughter in this unique, profane and enthusiastic stage show. Due to the realistic language and subject matter, this show is suggested for mature audiences.

Below is an Example of the Theater Company’s Work

Tour Wineries of Southern Oregon from Ashland

Many individuals who visit Southern Oregon find this region akin to California’s Napa Valley, or even with Italy’s Tuscany region.  Touring wineries the smart way means you don’t need to worry about drinking and driving when you about to drink considerable amounts of alcohol.  When you depart from Ashland, you spend the afternoon riding in a classy limo.  You then get treated to a millionaire-style tour of the area’s wineries, all the while sitting back and pretending you are a celebrity.   The five-hour excursion takes you through the hilly, green backcountry of the Rogue Valley with tasting destinations of three or four area wineries.  In order to round out the day, you’ll be served a catered lunch. There’s more to this tour than wine and food as information is also on your plate.  You’ll also be able to learn something about the wine growing industry, the local Southern Oregon wine environment and a new vocabulary word.  An example is the word “terroir,” a French word that describes the effect environment plays on a wine crop’s epigenetic qualities that affect the character and flavor of a particular wine.  As you drive past the interesting lama and horse farms of southern Oregon you’ll also learn of some of the interesting history of the area from your tour guide.

Science Works Museum

Do you remember the hands-on science museums you visited when you were a kid?  Typically, these museums are found in larger metropolitan areas, but the small hamlet of Ashland refuses to be left behind. If you have grandkids and want a day of fun, entertainment, learning and adventure then head over to Ashland’s Science Works Museum.  Many fascinating exhibits and interactive attractions can help to develop a young person’s interest in science and technology is waiting for those who pass through the doors of this intriguing depot of learning.

Science Works is not only for the young members of the family but also is an interesting adventure for adults and seniors.  In fact, if you are looking to give back something to another generation, there are many opportunities for seniors to volunteer at Science Works.  You can assist with the daily operation of the facility or even becoming a mentor to the multitude of children and students who visit each week.

Just a few of the attractions include a hard to explain demonstration of a dollar lit on fire that refuses to burn. Another is a bubble room where fascinating, giant, long and ultra-strong bubbles are created. The fun part is that you get to actually experiment with a one-of-a-kind interactive experience.  Then move on to the make a full-body imprint of you and your friends on a five foot high wall made of 65,000 plastic pins.  These 3-D impressions of your body offer a chance to see yourself in an entirely new way.

Lithia Park

One of the most cherished places in town, located just above the central plaza area of Ashland is Lithia Park.  In 2014, Lithia Park was chosen as one of the top ten Great American Spaces by the American Planning Association.  Known as the crown jewel of Ashland with lush green, expansive lawns, colorful and varied floral displays, highly maintained landscape, enormous trees from around the world, Japanese gardens, a formal rose garden, two duck ponds, majestic pathways, a meandering stream, picnic areas, groves of sycamore trees, tennis courts, pickle ball courts and a sand volleyball court.   This park is a favorite respite for local seniors.  Many regularly spend a day of rest and relaxation away from their aches, pains and problems in Lithia. Enjoy a nature walk along a wonderfully maintained pathway with evergreen and deciduous trees as you listen to the relaxing water sounds of babbling Lithia Creek.

Free concerts, church services and exercise classes are held in the park for the community. Enjoy marches, show tunes, orchestral transcriptions, featured soloists and original band compositions in Lithia Park.  These concerts are held in the summer months at the Butler Band Shell in Lithia Park.

A Bit of Ashland History

Ashland grew from 50 people in 1859 to over 3000 by 1900.  Ashland was the fastest growing town south of Portland during that period and the largest in Jackson County.  Lithia Park was first developed as early as 1892 on only eight acres of land and was the spot of a huge beehive shaped dome for the then popular Chautauqua festivals of the day. The Chautauqua festival ran for two decades in that location and provided a cultural movement that brought many to this tiny town in southern Oregon.  The park has since grown in size and beauty to a dramatic 93 acres. Lithia Park was the spot in the early 1900s of a mineral spring spa when Lithia water was discovered in Emigrant Creek a few miles to the east.  Lithia water had high levels of lithium in it and was considered as a healing and medicinal substance in the late 1800s and early 1900s. First opened as an auto-park/campground, Lithia Park became a tourist destination for those looking to bath in the mineral springs of the area. Lithia water was also made available in the water fountains in the town’s central plaza free for visitors to improve their health.  Lithia water is still running today at the same fountains.